Aircraft: Rans S-7 Courier. Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor. Location: Riley, Kans. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, he turned off the airplane’s fuel shutoff valve and tied the airplane down, thinking that he was done flying for the day, when he noticed a family with a 10-year-old boy at the airport and offered to give the boy a ride around the field.
The pilot untied the airplane and put the boy in the back seat. He did not use his checklist when he started the engine and taxied to the runway.
The airplane took off but when it was about 30 feet in the air the engine quit. The airplane came down hard.
The pilot told investigators that he had failed to complete a preflight cockpit check and did not turn on the fuel valve. In addition, the pilot reported that shoulder harnesses that were installed and available were not worn.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power during takeoff due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and failure to ensure that the fuel shutoff valve was turned on before departure.
NTSB Identification: CEN12CA003
This October 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.